The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the 2009 Destination Guide Art Contest and announced the winners, one of which will be featured in a color spread for the estimated 50,000-circulation guide.
The contest showcased the work of 11 participating artists and 14 original artworks with a panel of eight judges from the local business community to select the painting chosen to best represent the feel of Paso Robles, Authentic California, said Karyl Lammers, Chamber liaison for the contest.
Authentic California has been chosen as the city’s official brand.
“In creating the 2009 Destination Guide we are working hard to get the feel of Paso Robles, not only in our subject matter but also in our photographs,” Lammers said.
For the past two months, the Chamber worked closely with the Paso Robles Art Association and its president, Phyllis Frank, to bring the contest to fruition. This year’s featured artists included Liv Hansen, Anette York, Carolyn Braun, Ginger Toomer, Jean Neas, Maggi Macro, Nancy Pharis, William Tuck, Paul McCloskey, Laurie Carlisle and Gerri O’Brien.
There were three winners in the contest. Toomer was the first place winner, followed by O’Brien and Hansen. The winning artwork, which will be featured in next year’s Destination Guide, is her pastel work titled “Near Dusk.”
“The Paso Robles countryside with its oak trees, hills and fields has always inspired me to paint,” Toomer said. “I feel this work portrays my feelings of what makes this area special and why I enjoy living here.”
Toomer said that as an artist she was pleased that the Chamber decided to include local art in next year’s Destination Guide.
“I’m hopeful that this will increase visitors’ awareness of our art venues,” she said.
Toomer added that with the many wonderful artists who work in a variety of styles and media, she wished more than one piece could be included. She said that when interpreting the term Authentic California, she felt it was a “historically genuine place that, fortunately, has retained the natural beauty of its rural areas.”
“I feel this work portrays my feelings of what makes this area special and why I enjoy living here,” she said.
According to the Chamber, all of the chosen art pieces reveal the authentic roots of the area’s history steeped in agriculture. Without the hard work of the farmers and ranchers, Paso Robles would not be what it is today. Several of the judges even shared comments of how the art chosen brought back memories of their yesteryears, a Chamber spokeswoman said.
The judging panel consisted of Russ Restipe, Paso Robles Florist; Jeanne Gibson, Gibson & Company; Millie Drum, Paso Robles Magazine, Daniel Mansberg, Mansberg & Associates; Julian Herrara, Continental Labor & Staffing; Angel Robinson, A&R Marketing Company; and Mr. & Mrs. Gary Smith, Chamber building landlord.
“When I first saw all of the artists’ submissions, I could tell that each one of them had put their hearts into their work and spent a lot of time on the details,” Robinson said. “Each painting told a slightly different visual story, and they were all beautiful.”
The contest was generated by an appreciation of the maturing art scene and the many wonderfully talented artists Paso has to offer. An overriding goal was to connect with local artists for fulfill the inquiries from the Chamber.
“At long last we have art taking a position in the front row of ‘what to see and do’ in Paso Robles,” Lammers said.
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